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Open Access & Scholarly Publishing


OER: Open Educational Resources

The Problem: The High Cost of Textbooks

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported a survey finding that 7 out of 10 college students had skipped buying a textbook because of cost. The 2012 National Survey of Student Engagement reported that:

"Concern for finances appears to affect many students' academic performance. About one in four first-year students and one in three seniors frequently did not purchase required academic materials due to their cost, and a third of students believed that financial concerns interfered with their academic performance."

See our Guide on Affordable Course Materials Initiative for more resources.


Image retrieved from Campus Technology in 2021

Toward a Solution

Link to free and subscribed resources through your Canvas course site or in Library Course Reserves.

The Subject Librarians are available to advise faculty on ways to lower the cost of class materials. Working with faculty to find resources is central to the librarians' expertise and mission. They can meet with faculty to review finding high quality resources that meet faculty pedagogical goals without adding to student expenses.

Open Textbooks

Journal Articles & Books

The Directory of Open Access Journals links to scholarly journals in all fields. The Directory of Open Access Books includes thousands of peer-reviewed books from academic publishers.

In addition, the Libraries subscribe to thousands of journals and databases. The Libraries' licenses usually allows linking to articles and placing them in course reserves or a password protected environment like Canvas. Course reserves librarians can help with these links.


Other Free Resources

Open Courseware

The Open Courseware Consortium links to materials for online open courses -- this goes beyond textbooks to assignments, lecture notes and curriculum materials.

Open Course Library: an example that provides a collection of shareable course materials, including syllabi, course activities, readings, and assessments designed by teams of college faculty, instructional designers, librarians, and other experts.

Public Domain Materials

Public domain materials such as U.S. government documents, legislation, court cases and reports can be copied or linked freely and distributed to students at no charge.

Works in which copyright has expired (most pre-1923 works are in this category) are also in the public domain.